Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State and a former Kansas congressman from Wichita, spoke about some of the key issues he is dealing with as the country’s leader of foreign policy during a brief interview Thursday with KMUW.
Trade War with China
Pompeo supports President Donald Trump's decision to put pressure on China’s leadership through tariffs.
He said the current trade relationship with China is fundamentally unfair, accusing
Chinese leaders of charging excessive tariffs and forcing U.S. companies to give up their intellectual property.
“That is unacceptable,” he said. “It hurts Kansas workers.”
Since the trade war began, it has been tougher for farmers to find buyers for crops, especially soybeans. That has had a financial impact on many Kansas farmers who depend on trade with China.
But Pompeo says the short-term damage will eventually lead to a better trade situation and that the Trump administration is determined to see its plan through.
“If they would get rid of their tariffs, and they would stop stealing our intellectual property -- those are the simple things (Trump’s) asking for,” he said. “It’s only fair for Kansas workers (for China) to do that.”
Syria Troop Withdrawal
Pompeo also expressed support for Trump’s decision to remove all U.S. ground troops from Syria. He said the United States has had extraordinary success in its campaign against ISIS and that it’s a good time to bring troops home.
“We will continue to keep the homeland safe from the threat from ISIS, but it no longer makes sense for there to be 2,000 soldiers stationed there,” he said. “We can accomplish this mission in a different way.”
Pompeo said even with the move, the U.S. will continue to reassure its allies that it is committed to fighting terrorism.
“Our allies know, the United States will always be the ... leader in fighting against terrorism around the world,” he said. “We’ve done it for decades.”
Talks with North Korea
Pompeo said the administration remains hopeful that it can continue to make progress toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
He said that the U.S. is attempting to set up another summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shortly after the beginning of the year.
In their first summit in June, the two agreed to work toward complete denuclearization, but without announcing any detailed agreement.
Later Thurday, after Pompeo's interview, North Korean state media said the country will not give up its nuclear arms unless the U.S. gives up its nuclear weapons first.